your assignment

many of you are asking about the "assignment" i gave you about a month ago….i will begin viewing work right around september 15 although  there will be some flexibility here…and i have absolutely no clue about how much work will come in…the final parameters  will be posted here  when i return to new york on september 10 and can get a handle on everything….i.e. how many pictures to submit, sizing, etc etc.

it looks like the private upload site will be through the generous courtesy of Digital Railroad….your final work will be published here, but "here" will be as elegant a separate "chapter/page" as i can get designed between now and the end of september…we still have details to work out…so, please have your mind on your work.. not on when and where to send this have time to do great photographs….i expect this…but, your patience now  is appreciated…this is new territory for me….so, this little post is just so that you know i have not forgotten you!!!

for those of you who are new to this journal and have no idea what i am talking about, please do just a bit of "homework" and go back to my posts:   "collaboration" june 2…."your work" july 12…."timing" july 18….and "psyched" july 24   …

by the way, you might just want to check out the two essays i just posted by two of my Korean student photographers under "students/workshops"…

well, now i have to go do what i am asking you to do….it sure is easier to sit here and write about it, than to actually do it!!! (please see my "comment" under "going to work")..  as i have said many times before, my experience counts for little…unexposed film or empty flash cards are unexposed  film and empty flash cards….so, off i go today in downtown Seoul starting at zero….but the beauty and the energy derived from doing  this  type of work is that, even though i have no idea what will "happen" or what i will "see",  something will manifest itself…won’t it?? 

38 Responses to “your assignment”

  • Yup, something will manifest itself as long as your mind is in the right place…and is open enough to recognize the fact…positive thoughts really do manifest in physical ways.

    Anybody see the movie ‘What the Bleep do we Know”?

    David I’m working hard on the ‘assignment’

  • And what about the Magnum portfolio review in Perpignan? Any details?

    Good luck on your assigment.

    Sofia Quintas

  • sofia…

    the dates and times for free magnum portfolio reviews at perpignan were posted under my “students/workshops” section a week or so ago …i cannot remember exactly but i think sept 6-9 in the afternoon…i hope to see you there…

    ok , i just looked mistake..i did not put the times…but i think it is from 1-5 in the afternnoon on the aforementioned dates… any case, just get to perpignan with your portfolio within those dates and we will be ready to view it!!!

    i do also think some portfolios with be viewed in a larger venue…some will be selected to show to a more significant audience…

  • the “assignment” project sounds a bit scary… scary for you, that is. what if you get a few thousand submissions. after the first couple of hundred, the eyes seem to glaze over and the mind begins to wander off. are you sure you want to put yourself in that position?

    or would it be better to let folks post and/or rate the images in one big gallery. something like the way or ?

    but it sounds like it could be physically dangerous.

  • i guess this means we’re ok to keep shooting/editing until september 10??… :$

    would be neat.

  • richard….

    i do not think it will be too bad…i will limit the number of pictures each person can send…and i am under no time limit or pressure…the point is to take it in another direction from the existing photo sharing sites…to create at least one copy of an online magazine…to show potential funders for future assignments what can be done….create powerful content from the “audience”…the ultimate collaboration…

    emerging photographers are craving an outlet where they can be seen by the best of their peer group and the best of the print editors…we will have that audience….editors could research it all out and see the photographers work on individual websites anyway, but this way it is all in one place and they can see what a photog can do in a specified period of time…i know editors value this more than anything…most portfolios tell an editor who is about to invest assignment money very little…

    anyway, i am giving it a shot….a little payback from me to the upcoming crowd of eager photographers…none of us have anything to lose and perhaps we will all create something very special….


  • tome…

    yes, you have that little bit of extra time…


  • Hi David-
    Not sure if I should do this or not, but I do have some series’ from the “assignment” posted on my site. It’s turned into cultural study surrounding an all-ages hardcore venue here in Michigan.

    Please don’t take this as a submission because I would not present it this way, and I have some heavy editing to do. I haven’t been able to keep up with your postings the last couple of weeks, but I’m really curious how your reader’s projects are coming along. I guess we’ll all know soon enough.


  • Hi David and friends
    I am doing a project right now called “Objective Portraits”. I am trying to apply an architectural approach to this group of Images using the 4×5. Everyone gets the same “treatment”, and I am trying to be as honest as possible about the rendering. Really, the shots have an intensity that is a little alarming. Its not reportage, but because I am keeping the set the same for everyone, and applying the same “objective” light (discriptive), maybe this would work for your assignment.
    I would like to submit something, it all sounds pretty exciting, but I am not really sure if it would be appropriate.
    This project has kind of consumed me, my LA project is on simmer at the back of the cooker right now,
    anyway, just wandering

  • w. robert and david

    please please do not think that one kind of photography is more appropriate than another for this project…anything goes!!!

    because of what i do , people often make the mistake of thinking i only appreciate something that looks like what i do…wrong and wrong….besides, what “i do” is evolving all the time..

    just go do something nice and tight and well thought out…visual literacy…that is all i would like to see…


  • Hi David,
    You’ve definitely motivated me to get out and shoot this summer! Hope when I put it all together to edit that there will be something good to submit.

    I’ve been hearing today about your Bangkok workshop and am a little surprised I didn’t hear about it here first. Would it be possible for you to list your teaching schedule somewhere on the site so that we DAH bloggies (blog groupies) get a “heads up” and could have first shot at enrolling? Thank you!

  • David:

    when do you return to NYC (let’s say, after middle of September) and for how long??…

    hope u r enjoying korea…

    some words for you soon, promise…

    shoot hard and rest your weary head..


  • cathy…

    someone made a mistake and jumped the gun and fired that still incomplete bangkok workshop news to “lightstalkers”…it has been taken off….i do try to post all of my upcoming workshops here, but some were full even before i started this blog…..and i will let everyone know soonest about the bkk workshop with nachtwey…right now, i cannot find jim to go over final details!!!

  • hi bob…

    you’re back!! i return to new york september 10 mas o menos…between now and then i have a short assignment in paris after this work in korea and may stop by the festivities in perpignan…..then home to start looking at the work to come to me here…

    last week september and the second week of october i do my loft workshops in new york…any chance you will be in town?? would love to have you stop by….

    my head is somehow not too weary even though my year has been very full….for me it goes like this: yesterday i was with my translator and she commented on how i appeared a bit sleepy…2 in the afternoon…siesta time…but, i was just sitting there waiting for women to show up in a Korean “dress cafe” …suddenly, a few showed up…picture taking time…immediately i was wide awake and full of the very energy that seemed to be so lacking just minutes before….

    work gives me energy more than it takes away…too much “time off” and i start doing all the wrong things….but, yes, i do like some time to walk the beach and contemplate the breakers…somehow i will get that in there too!!!

  • david,

    i’m in stone sculpture workshop now, and i’m not conected wit net, so i can wait for your email. and i can’t write a comments as often as usual.

    i’m hurry peace


  • warm (really warm, here is incredible hot) greetings from Turkey…
    i am glad you gave us time until sept 15th because i am really busy (shooting, shooting, shooting…) in istanbul, and i dont have internet at home (today i firsth time had a time to check your blog).. i will be 10th sept at home and will prepate what to send :-)

  • David,
    Your comment “work gives me energy more than it takes away…too much “time off” and i start doing all the wrong things….but, yes, i do like some time to walk the beach and contemplate the breakers”

    You really hit home with that one. In my life here on the Outer Banks, I miss a lot by getting too relaxed. By the way, I am planning to submit something for the “assignment”. Maybe that’ll get me up and running again. Besides, the Autumn weather is near, and the turistas are thinning out. It’s been a fairly busy Summer.

  • mike…

    balance amigo, balance….we could all use more of it one way or the other!!

    joining you soonest…love that fall weather obx….

  • David: :))

    I’ll write you this weekend…much depends on what is happening with my wife and son in Russia in september…we’re all coming to visit, for sure, later in the year, but I would like to stop down and bring you wine..preferably when i have a rerun of my projection project at gallery…anyway, i’ll write you off blog next week :))

    i’ve enjoyed (yesterday) reading all the comments too :))))

    totally get the deal with energy, absolutely :))…have been drifting through that last 2 weeks, with photo-story & writing deadline (i’ll post here when it goes live/published)….and the madness of these projections: but…somehow, someone’s voice (or face) always feeds the energy blues :))

    more later David :))


  • Ciao David,

    your crit sessions at Perpignan are very valuable and I’ll definetly apply for it. This blog and your workshop is great! I’ve been organizing festival of documentary photography and been learning a lot from your workshop.

    See you in Perpignan!

    PS: An answer to the first comment. The film What the bleep do we know confirmed my doubts in “objective reality”. David is right. We don’t observe reality, we make it, by observing it!

  • Ups, there is some weird stuff going on on this blog. I submitted a comment under my real name and with a link to my blog, but it appears under a name bobblack + link is redirected to bobblack’s site. Strange. Somebody want’s more hits on his site.

    Anyhow I’m Borut Peterlin and not bobblack.

  • David,

    How your work? Seoul is good place for shooting? I think your flash card is full now. I hope you will show us finished work someday. “Youth culture” this must be difficult stuff. I can’t wait for see it.
    I’m at sculpture symposium now and all day I work in granite stone in workshop for next two weeks. Two days little break. When I’ll back I’ll have little self assignment. Very difficult too, because I will try to find out a new shape of polish after communism reality. I have idea in my mind but I have not idea how to do it. I will show you but only if I do it, like I wont. Impossible…

    Well, good hunting I wish


    ps. You need an hour? I don’t want take your time, but now I just can’t wait. I’m really curious

  • Hi Borut. No mistake was made. It is confusing, though. It looks like the name above the comment is the name attributed to the comment. It’s not. The name under the comment belongs to the comment. Hope that made sense.


  • borut….

    yes, some people are confused by the comment system here…i am going to try to change all of that as soon as i can…when i started this blog i knew nothing about the web or the systems..i know a bit more now….sorry for the confusion..


    it is both very difficult and very rewarding working here in korea…just difficult to capture the “spirit”…yes, i will post some pictures by monday i think…now i am so busy shooting and downloading and i have no extra time…but i do wish you well at your sculpture symposium and i will also remember to give you a good critique of your work…just a little more time please…

    cheers, david

  • David,

    I’ll be waiting for your email after your return to new york. no hurry.

    i’ll be waiting to see your works!


  • Hi everyone i found out here through “aga” my dear, it s a very cool place and nice to be part of it.


  • ilker….



  • Hi David.

    I gotta say, I’m thrilled to have gotten that little extra time for this assigment. There really never is enough time is there? Just one more shot. Just one more day. I get an extra week? Great!

    How do you know when your are done? How do you know when you’ve “completed” the project/assignment? Do you ever feel it’s finished? Or is it more, “Well, I think I’ve got enough for the editors to choose from, even though I wish I could give them more”?

    Just curious. Thanks.


  • Michael,

    Good question! Maybe David would want to discuss this as a seperate topic…Has this come up already? I don’t think so…other than in the discussion of “saying Goodbye”

    I also feel like the more time I can spend on a project the better. I could use another few years for this assignment! I have been shooting in India every year for the past 12 years and don’t feel I’ve made a dent, especially since what and how I like to shoot continues to evolve and therefore makes all of my previous work undesirable to me! Which is fine as long as I remember it’s the journey not the destination…in other words the growth is good and don’t think of all the old images I’ve outgrown as “wasted time.” Lots more to say about this..interested in David’s response.

  • michael and cathy…

    this is so weird you guys would come up with this one….i was just sitting here in my room on sunday morn seoul and thinking the same thing…ok, will write a story now….or , at least, soon!!! still shooting today

  • David and Cathy…

    Great minds, eh? ;^}

    Can’t wait to hear your thoughts, David. Hope your shoot goes well today!


  • David, here’s hoping there are cool breezes in seoul; nyc is a beast at the moment, one of those nights when the air is so still it’s a burden to the lungs.

    I am home from my project-trip, and am scanning the negatives now that will be offered up for your call for new work. Your project encouraged me to try to shake off some habits and so I decided to shoot in 35mm, and something good has happened..

    Because I have only been shooting the square for a while now, my 35mm verticals are different than from before I used the square. As far as I can figure, my eye is now seeing the vertical as a subset of the square.

    Though switching formats was difficult and unsuccessful in some regards, for this bit it’s exciting – I think it is such a blessing to have those parameters expanded now and thank you, again.

  • erica….

    i look forward to seeing your work…..i like what i have seen in the past….

  • Hi David,

    i’m Riva from Indonesia. we met during Gary and Alexandra workshop in Jerusalem long ago in 2005. i remember you did hip hop story that time :) anyway i’m new for this web, and i just read about the assignment. is it possible for me to join this project?

  • Hi David,
    what a nice and worthy surprise I got in discovering your site and this “community”!
    First of all, I have to say that I love your kind of “vision”, a lot of great photography!
    Then, talking about the “assignment”… well, I haven’t understood if I’m still in time to partecipate and, furthermore, I don’t know whether or not I’m “able” to… I’m not a “pro”, I just love photography… anyway, I’m sure this will be a very interesting thing to follow!


  • I guess it’s too late for me. I’ll have my (first!) scans on Monday. Not nearly enough time to edit it (that is, if I knew how to, hehe).

    But still, next week I’ll provide you with a link to my deviantart account. I would love to hear what you have to say about it.


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